Student loan debt is no stranger to higher education seekers. As the demand for education has increased over the years, so has the price; leaving millions of people in debt and scrambling to make ends meet. According to the Pew Research Center, Americans owed more than $1.3 trillion in student loan debt.

These loans are great avenues for people to get a degree, that simply can’t afford it. The government has found ways to make repayment of federal loans more manageable through income driven repayment plans and public service forgiveness. Private loans operate under the specific terms of the lender. If you fall under hard times with repayment some options include: refinancing, forbearance and bankruptcy.

Kansas is offering another repayment option. The Kansas Department of Commerce is inviting young people to find a better solution to their debt problems with the Rural Opportunity Zones program.

There’s something special about life in rural Kansas. Something authentic and wholesome. Something that makes it the ideal place to live, work and raise a family. And thanks to the new Rural Opportunity Zones program, there’s never been a better time than now to make rural Kansas your new home. If you’re looking for lower cost of living and better quality of life, Kansas is your best choice.

Rural Opportunity Zones are 77 counties that have been authorized to offer one or both of the following financial incentives to new full-time residents:

  • Kansas income tax waivers for up to five years
  • Student loan repayments up to $15,000

In this instance, one hand washes the other. Counties offer a chance to eradicate debt, while bringing new life to areas that have been declining since 2010. Small town life, isn’t necessarily idyllic to those graduating from college but great things can come from unexpected places. Kansas could prove to be an amazing opportunity to gain experience, save money, life comfortably and pay off debt.

To qualify for student loan repayment one must establish residency in a qualified county after July 1, 2011, hold a degree (associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s) and have an outstanding balance. For more information on this program visit Rural Opportunity Zones.